Entertainment - Movie Reviews

Latest ‘Spider-Man’ is best yet

 By Gable Pierce
Times-News correspondent


This image released by Sony Pictures shows Jake Gyllenhaal, left, and Tom Holland in a scene from "Spider-Man: Far From Home." [Jay Maidment/Columbia Pictures/Sony via AP

   ”Spider-Man — Far From Home” captures the awkwardness and uncertainty that comes with being a teenager.
It also shows how class trips can be memorable adventures.
Tom Holland reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and let’s be honest here, he really epitomizes what Spider-Man should be — a reluctant superhero.
The film begins where “The Avengers — Endgame” ended. The world wants a hero. The deaths of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) have left the world emotionally drained. And there was “the blip.” Thanos snapped his fingers and people disappeared and reappeared.
The teens in this film do a great job of explaining what happened during that time.
The first five minutes of this film are strange. Adults are probably going to understand it more than teens will (due to the 1990s musical montage).
Zendaya is back as Mary Jane, along with Jacob Batalon as Ned; Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; Marisa Tomei as Aunt May; Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan; Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson; and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Mysterio, who has come to earth because “the blip” ripped a hole in his universe. The dialogue between Spider-Man and Mysterio is terrific. Flash Thompson gets some real character development in this movie as well.
Like other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, this one has plenty of action, but this “Spider-Man” also delivers nonstop laughter. JB Smoove (Mr. Dell) and Martin Starr (Mr. Harrington) are hilarious as teachers/chaperones for the European trip. And Favreau, Tomei and Holland talk back-and-forth much like real-life conversations between teens and adults. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is funny, too.
You don’t have to watch the other “Spider-Man” movies to understand the plot, but it would be a good idea to watch “The Avengers — Endgame” beforehand.
This is a movie that the entire family will enjoy, although younger viewers may not understand some of the sequences. At times, it feels as if you are immersed in a video game. Don’t forget to stay afterward, too, there are two previews at the end of this film.

Gable Pierce is a rising freshman at STEM Early College at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro and a Teens & 20s writer. Charity Apple, Accent editor, Alamance Living editor and Teens & 20s adviser, contributed to this review.

Endearing and innocent: ‘Christopher Robin’ is a fresh spin on Disney classic

 By Elspeth Macnab-Stark
Times-News correspondent


Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) with his longtime friend Winnie the Pooh in Disney's "Christopher Robin." [Laurie Sparham / Disney via The Associated Press

   If you’ve ever wondered what happened to A.A. Milne’s Christopher   Robin after leaving the Hundred Acre Wood and its furry inhabitants   behind, Marc Forster’s “Christopher Robin” will answer all your   questions and more.
Overworked and out of touch, a grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewan   McGregor) receives a well-timed surprise visit from his old friend,   Winnie the Pooh.
Struggling to keep both his home and work life intact, Robin stays in   London while his wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), and daughter, Madeline   (Bronte Carmichael), spend the weekend at his childhood home. When   Pooh arrives unexpectedly in London with a problem of his own, the   two old friends set off together to find the rest of the gang, who are lost   in the Hundred Acre Wood. Fighting a mid-life crisis and Heffalumps   along the way, Pooh and Robin eventually reunite with their friends   Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo. With a menagerie read more…

‘Mamma Mia!” a feel-good summertime film

By Elspeth Macnab-Stark
Times-News correspondent

   ”Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” tells two stories at once.
In the present day, we see Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) dealing with a surprise pregnancy while missing her mother Donna (Meryl Streep). This is paralleled with the story of a young Donna’s (Lily James) own unplanned pregnancy. Considering that it is both a sequel and a prequel, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” does an impressive job of making sense of the convoluted plot it weaves.
The film takes a while to find its groove — but once it gets on the right track — there’s no stopping it.
Having used most of ABBA’s better-known songs in the first movie, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” had to find traction with what was left. Using hits like “Waterloo” and “Fernando,” plus a lot of lesser-known numbers, the cast succeeded in once again selling what they were feeling through every song.
read more…

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